Regulatory Effects of Iron and Quorum Sensing on Virulence Factor Expression in Vibrio vulnificus


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As antibiotic resistance in Vibrio vulnificus becomes more abundant, there is a greater need to identify new therapeutic measures to combat infections. To do so, it is important to understand which environmental factors contribute to the virulence of the organism. Such factors include cell density and iron prevalence. This review evaluated studies that explored how genetic and protein factors related to iron prevalence and cell density impact the virulence of V. vulnificus through iron-dependent gene expression and quorum sensing mechanisms respectively. Changes in virulence were determined through the expression of virulence factors such as proteases and hemolysins. It was ultimately observed that increases in quorum sensing promoted the expression of proteases VVP and VvpE. Increased quorum sensing also seemed to repress the expression of the hemolysin VVH. Meanwhile, the enhanced presence of iron stimulated VvpE production and transcriptionally repressed hemolysin expression. These systems of iron-dependent gene expression and quorum sensing also seemed to play roles in regulating each other, with quorum sensing being more heavily regulated by iron prevalence. These findings shed light on mechanisms by which iron prevalence and quorum sensing impact the virulence of V. vulnificus. Such knowledge may be used to identify potential pharmaceutical targets to ease virulence in cases of acute vibriosis and reduce the use of conventional antibiotic